June 3, 2009

The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich

I love science fiction because I get to see into the imagined future. It’s the same with historical fiction except it's factual: I get to peek into the world the author has researched and really see how someone lived from day to day. Louise Erdrich wrote three books about a Ojibwe girl growing up along the rivers of North Minnesota in the 1800’s.  Her name is Omaykayas and her family is a colorful group of native Americans with bad moods, and funny traits just like your family. The difference is that they live totally off the land and the waters, their existence threatened by the Western expansion of the United States. In the third book, “The Porcupine Year,” her brother takes a porcupine as a pet and even wears him as a hat! Omaykayas loves an Ojibwe boy older than her twelve years; her uncle steals the winter supplies from the family, and she almost drowns in a river storm. The entire series begins with “The Birchbark House” followed by “The Game of Silence” and finally “Year of the Porcupine.” Survival skills and family are key here. Ms Erdrich also writes adult historical fiction, and I find all her books fascinating.

Reed Reads Score: 4.5

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